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Even the most responsible person can find themselves overwhelmed financially some times.  Maybe you lost your job or your spouse is sick and can't work.  Whatever the reason, there are ways that you can negotiate with your credit card companies to either reduce your debt or interest rates to help you pay down your debt faster.

You may resist the idea of negotiating with your credit card companies.  Maybe you think it's more trouble than it's worth or that they'll just turn you down, so why ask?  Of course, if you don't ask, you'll never know what could have been.  As they like to say, "It never hurts to ask!"

Here are a few tips to help you successfully negotiate with your credit card companies:

1) Contact your credit card company early

Do not wait until you get behind in your payments.  It's important to initiate the negotiation process with your credit card company the moment you realize it's going to be a struggle to keep up with everything.  Your creditors will be more likely to help you if you are proactive in your approach.

2) Start with the card/loan with the highest interestmoney money money!(73271)Credit:

Attacking the loans with highest interest rates with help you save money in the long run. 

3) Know what you owe

Compile a list of all your debts and income.   Make sure to include your rent/mortgage, utilities, and debts.  This financial picture will help you figure out what you can afford to pay towards your debt each month. 

4) Be Realistic

Make sure that you don't promise more than you can actually pay.  Check your budget and then double check it to ensure that you aren't getting into more trouble than before.  More times than not, if you do promise to pay more than you can and then have to renege on it, not only with your credit score be affected but the credit card companies will be less likely to negotiate with you in the future.

5) Never put all your cards on the table 

When the credit card company rep asks you what you can pay, make sure to hold back a little so you have some negotiation room.  If you don't and they counter-offer, you won't have the room in your budget to respond with a counter-counter-offer.

6) Be ready to give a little to get what you want

Negotiations are the most successful when both parties walk away from the table with something.  Of course, your goal as a participant is to give as little as possible in exchange for as much as possible.  For example, your credit card company might be more willing to lower your interest rate if you sign a contract stating that you will pay off your debt within a certain timeframe.  Just make sure that whatever you agree upon is realistic and obtainable. 

7) Keep your tone calm and professional

Getting angry, weepy, or demanding will end your negoArguing Couple(73273)Credit: faster than you can say "debtor's prison".  When you feel like you're about to lose it, stop and take a moment to pull yourself together.  If you've reached your saturation point of dealing with certain representatives, it may be time to end the conversation and try again another day.

8) Be willing to bring in a professional when needed

In some cases, credit card companies will only negotiate with a CPA, lawyer, or debt negotiation / credit counseling company.  Other times, you might feel uncomfortable with the way negotiations are going and feel like you need to have a little more oomph behind your words and decide to hire a lawyer or CPA who specializes in negotiations. 

Either way, make sure the company or person who hire is trustworthy.  Ask for referrals from people you know and trust.  Search for the vendor's name online and see what other people have to say about them.